The Future of Helmets

In a world where change is constant and innovation is persistent, the same can be said for football helmet technology. Each year, helmets are becoming safer and more adaptable to player-specific needs. Football is a popular sport in the U.S, and steadily growing worldwide, but the physical nature of the game puts all players at risk for head injury. Throughout the history of football, researchers and engineers have worked hand-in-hand to get us to the helmets we see and wear today.

Back at the Beginning

During the early 1900’s, players wore minimal head protection, if any at all. During this time, we saw leather caps being worn in an attempt to shield the head. These caps were no match in preventing serious head injury. 

By the 1960's, the plastic helmet shell was developed and included the addition of a facemask. Facemasks gave players more protection, as safety standards were quickly becoming more fundamental to the game. Engineers went on to develop more advanced padding, design, and materials to bring us to the helmets worn today.

Fast Forward to Now

The rate of improvement we’ve seen to football football helmets has continued to accelerate at a rapid pace. Now, it’s more common to see position specific helmets, the highest quality of materials, and the integration of technology combined with head safety. So, let’s get into some of the biggest factors of helmet innovation we’re seeing today.

Starting off  with the Riddell Axiom, released in 2022, this helmet model has quickly gained popularity among players nationwide. While there has been focus on position-specific headgear for a while, the Axiom takes this to the next level with a personal-fit helmet. Experts use technology to scan a player’s head in order to build a helmet fitment that perfectly matches the shape of each individual's head. The Axiom’s features were manufactured and designed based on data, to improve impact response, reduce head impact exposure, and deliver a never-seen-before level of protection.

If you’re looking for something both technologically advanced and strong in the safety category, the Vicis Zero2 Helmet is truly impressive for this time.

Rated #1 safest helmet in both youth and adult sizes, Vicis has developed their headgear to provide a flexible outer shell as well as customizable inner padding. Under the outer shell, there are columns that leverage the buckling structures that provide greater impact performance. The internal padding is composed of interchangeable, 3D printed DLTA pods that allow for a customizable fit. They are available in different thicknesses to fit a player’s head with precision.

Material About New Materials

The next major improvement we’re seeing take off is the materials that are used in the helmets themselves, more specifically, a new liner that incorporates liquid nanofoam. Researchers at Michigan State University are currently testing this material, proving its ability to mitigate continuous impact with no damage.

This liquid nanofoam is made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny nanopores in a hydrophobic liquid that creates an enormous amount of surface area. So much so, that one compacted gram of this material is equal to the surface area of an entire football field. 

So, how does it work? The liquid nanofoam liner is more malleable, reinforced, and thinner in size compared to the foam liners in most helmets. When a hit is taken, the nanofoam becomes pressurized on impact, completely absorbing the collision impact and allowing for maximum protection. Since this liner can withstand such high impact blows, the need to recertify and replace your helmet dramatically decreases, making it cost efficient as well.

Overall, helmet design has seen remarkable advancements over the years, driven by a relentless commitment to improving player safety and reducing risk of serious head injuries, we can only expect that this innovation will continue to improve and grow throughout the future.

Isabella Morabito

Isabella Morabito

Bella Morabito is a Content Marketing Developer specializing in social media strategy, photography, and editing with the Adobe Suite. She has an eye for design and photos, and also specializes in writing copy.

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